So when you have an idea, but it doesn’t quite seem fully developed what are you to do? Are you supposed to write your half story and just hope the rest comes to you, or are you going to just wait and see if it finishes developing? That answer is likely going to be different for every author on the planet. The craft of writing is itself a matter of attempting perfection, is it not? Think about it. We have our fictional world that we want to be perfect, we have our fictionally perfect characters and situations, and the ending is just always absolutely perfect to us isn’t it? Don’t misunderstand me, I merely mean ‘perfect’ as in up to our standards as the author, not perfect as in infallible in nature. But in the regard to which I was referring, we want our work to be up to par in our own minds or it is unsatisfying to us. In order to reach that sort of personal perfection we have to go through all sorts of methods of development, once again allowing me to assert one of the biggest lessons I have to teach you; that no two authors are the same.
We’ve all had an idea that we just couldn’t be sure about. Either it comes to us in pieces and we just can’t see how they connect, or only half of it comes to us at a time, etc… But regardless of the situation we just know it somehow isn’t complete. One of the most asked questions by many writers, not just fresh and aspiring authors, is what to do when this happens. It’s very difficult to deal with an idea that you feel isn’t complete or good enough. Many people think it’s perfectly acceptable to just ignore or forget about these ideas, but let me ask you this; what if F. Scott Fitzgerald had gotten stumped on “The Great Gatsby”? We would be without one of the greatest books in the history of literature (in the humble opinion of this experienced reader, anyway). So it seems only obvious to me that ignoring the ideas is not the best option.
In my own experience, an idea that doesn’t seem complete can need one of two things. You either need to go ahead and begin writing the idea itself out, either as idea/outline or as a story and hope that it goes ahead and fills itself out as you go, or you need to simply let it ‘cook’ a bit longer. Those options are both very flexible for nearly any idea or situation in all honesty. Sometimes the idea can trigger itself if you begin taking notes on it as a possibility, or it can almost literally write itself if you go ahead and just start it while it still seems to be in its infancy. As I’ve mentioned that you need to sometimes listen to your stories and allow them to tell you what to do with their development, you also sometimes need to trust them to take themselves there using you as a means of doing so. The other option, letting them ‘cook’ a little longer, can be somewhat tricky at times. If you choose to go about this route it is important that you don’t forget about them. You have to dwell on them a bit, try to see inside them, and look around the problems or hindrances in its completion and get to the place you feel comfortable starting them.
Personally I usually tend to use a mixture of these two methods. If I have an idea that just doesn’t seem complete enough to actually get it started I’ll take notes on what I have and attempt to let the idea itself sit in my brain and build itself up until it has a strong enough base that I can go forward with what I have and allow the rest to catch up and fill itself in along the way. I hope this has answered a question that most people think there isn’t really an answer to, and I hope this has helped someone, or will in the future. Just remember to write in whatever manner is best for you. The methods and mannerisms of another author aren’t necessarily going to fill your needs and be what gets you a best seller or even a completed work, in reality. Your work is your own, and it is not necessarily going to follow the same format as someone else’s. It is part of your duty as an author to find out what works best for you, which is what a lot of my posts may tend to emphasize. Good luck with your work, and keep your eyes open for my next post.